How to Import Goods Into the US

Many small business entrepreneurs have become successful by importing goods from other countries such as China, Mexico, and Canada. Once you have selected a product, the supplier and the country to import the goods into the United States, the steps from a U.S. regulations perspective are common for most countries.

Importing goods into the U.S. can appear to be a complicated process. Here are the four basic steps on how to import from China into the U.S.:

1. Deciding on your port of entry. Depending on your physical location within the country, you may only have one or a multiple of choices. When the carrier arrives to the Port of Entry with your goods from your chosen country, the carrier needs to submit a Bill of Lading to the U.S. customs officer. It is also known in legal jargon as “Evidence of Right to Make Entry for Importations by Common Carrier”.

2. Determine the legality and tariff or duty value of your imported goods from China in a process called examination and valuation. The U.S. customs officer will examine or inspect your goods to ensure that they meet U.S. import regulations. Some key things that they will check are:

* Country of Origin clearly marked and visible.
* Are there any illegal goods?
* Properly invoiced goods for valuation stage.
* Does the quantity shipped match the quantity indicated?

During the valuation phase the U.S. customs officer will determine the total value of your goods imported from China based on the actual price paid plus other costs such as shipping and packaging.

3. Establish the percentage of tax that will be charged to the value of your imported goods from China. This process is also called classification. The Customs Service will determine the grouping for your merchandise. This determines the amount of duty that you have to pay. Tax rates can be found in the U.S. Government’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

4. Payment and liquidation. You will need to pay the tariff amount to government officials to take possession of the imported goods. If everything goes well, all you need to do is to write the government a check and your goods are considered liquidated. You can officially take legal possession of your goods.

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